Monday, March 27, 2017


This crazy article we read over the weekend gave us even more confidence in the sandwich one of us packs for lunch nearly every single day: good old PB&J! Putting in our own two cents, we would like to recommend enjoying it toasted, open-faced on sprouted wheat bread, with Justin's creamy peanut butter, and all-fruit strawberry, apricot, or fig preserves..

We've also been batting around some combinations, and one includes a sandwich press and powdered sugar. Let's just call it fuel.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Chubby Vegetarian cookbook at a great price!

Hey, everyone, listen up! Amazon's running a special on our second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, 2016). The sale price is just $16.37, which is down from the original list price of $24.99. We don't control Amazon's price structure and have yet to figure out why the price fluctuates so much. But all in all, this was great news today!

The Chubby Vegetarian cookbook contains our original recipes gathered from cuisines from around the world. All last year, we worked our hardest to ensure that the recipes that made the cut would open up a ton of new ideas for our readers and fellow home cooks.

We are proud of the beautiful foreword P. Allen Smith wrote for us along with the Introduction we wrote about our love of cooking and our journey from cooking at home as kids, to cooking together for our friends in college, to sharing the dishes we make at our home in Memphis.

If you've been thinking about ordering a copy for yourself or picking up a copy for a friend, now is the time! It's so cool that TCV is available for about the same price as our first book from 2013, The Southern Vegetarian.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Lemongrass (with ingredients from The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market)

We really felt like it was all of a sudden spring (finally!) last Saturday morning when we stopped by the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market. Feeling creative, we decided to shop with the goal of figuring out a new dish to make for lunch. There were lots of farm eggs (and some duck eggs), plenty of greens, and all kinds of mushrooms, including some Pioppino. We chose some really nice oyster mushrooms this time around. Sprouts, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, and microgreens were available, too. We immediately started thinking maybe pad Thai, maybe quiche. But the El Mero Taco truck was parked outside Muddy's Grind House, so it was clear this dreamy new dish was going to be on hold until Sunday lunch.

The local flowers from we chose from Delta Sol made my grandmother happy because she always asks if we or someone we know grew the arrangements we do for her. We could tell her yes for the first time this year!

We're also thrilled that opening day of the downtown Memphis Farmers Market is on Saturday, April 1 (seriously, no joke) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

So what are you most looking forward to buying? Over at our house, we have tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and some nasturtium plants for the garden at the top of the list.

We'll definitely buy the ingredients for this Pad Thai again. Last night, we already made a similar version with other random vegetables we had in the fridge. Be sure to put a few pinches of sugar on top of the finished dish along with the sambal. Doing so balances out its spicy and savory nature and also makes it taste even better!

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Lemongrass (with ingredients from The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market)

4 ounces pad Thai rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)
Pad Thai Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs
8 ounces oyster mushrooms
2 cups chopped Napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions (root end removed; cut into large pieces)
1 yellow bell pepper (sliced, stem and seeds discarded)
1 16-ounce package baked tofu (cut into triangles)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 small bunch cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 lime quartered
1 small bunch basil
Sambal (to taste)
A few pinches of sugar (to taste)

This dish comes together fast once you have everything chopped and ready. Make the noodles according to the package instructions and the Pad Thai Sauce according to the recipe below. Set aside with the rest of the ingredients.

Over high heat, get your large wok or frying pan hot enough that it starts smoking. Add the coconut oil and crack the two eggs into the bottom. Allow them to cook for about 2 minutes or until they're crispy on the bottom. With a large spoon, stir until the eggs are cooked through.

Add the mushrooms, cabbage, onions, bell peppers, and tofu. Cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes or until the cabbage has wilted. Add the noodles and the Pad Thai Sauce. Stir and cook until everything is throughly heated through; this will take about another 2 minutes. Place Pad Thai onto a serving platter and garnish with mung bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, and chopped peanuts. Serve the lime, basil, and sambal on the side. (Makes 4 servings.)

Pad Thai Sauce

1 fresno or Thai bird chili (chopped)
1 stalk lemongrass (tender center part of the stalk, the rest discarded)
4 cloves peeled garlic
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons soy sauce (We like Braggs Liquid Aminos.)
1 tablespoon sugar

In the bowl of a mortar and pestle, grind the chili, lemongrass, garlic, zest, lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar until well incorporated. You can also use a blender for this. Set aside until ready to use. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Huevos Rancheros Quesadilla

We're really into making breakfast here at home. You know that feeling when you wake up and have a super good plan for breakfast in mind or something already made ahead that you know is going to be, like, the best? That's the goal.

Sometimes it's just cereal, though. Or peanut butter on a banana before a run. If we're really fortunate to have both the inclination and the time, it's the gold standard: PANCAKES! WAFFLES! MONKEY BREAD! We save those for the weekend.

But this, we hadn't ever made before now. It was inspired by half a can of black beans sitting open in the fridge and a sleepyhead's idea of what would be better than just eggs on top of a tortilla.

Huevos Rancheros Quesadilla

2 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
1 12-inch tortilla
2 1/2 ounces smoked Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
4 large eggs
1 16-ounce jar of black bean salsa
1 large avocado (sliced)
Chives (chopped; to garnish)
Mexican hot sauce (to garnish)

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the tortilla. Add cheese to one half of the tortilla and fold. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until the tortilla is golden and the cheese is melted. Remove the quesadilla from the pan, cut it in half, and place each half onto a large plate.

In the same skillet  add the remaining olive oil and crack the eggs into the pan. Cook eggs until the bottom of the egg is crispy and the whites have set; this should take 4 to 5 minutes. Remove 2 eggs and place them atop one half of the quesadilla. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs.

In the same skillet, pour the salsa onto the hot surface and heat the salsa through. This should only take a minute or so. Spoon a generous amount of black bean salsa on top of the eggs on each plate. Garnish with sliced avocado, chopped chives, and hot sauce. (Makes 2 servings.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dutch Baby Pancake with Nectarines, Marcona Almonds, Honey Goat Cheese, and Garden Mint

Here's the breakfast/dessert we made with the rest of our ingredients from our trip last week to Aldi, which was suggested by a TCV reader. (Here's the naan pizza we made first.) We had to wait about a week for the nectarines to ripen, but they were great when ready. Somehow the mint really made this dish!

Dutch Baby Pancake with Nectarines, Marcona Almonds, Honey Goat Cheese, and Garden Mint

1 Dutch Baby Pancake (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
5 medium nectarines (pitted, cut into eighths)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 ounces soft goat cheese (We used honey-flavored goat cheese that was fantastic.)
1/3 cup chopped marcona almonds
2 sprigs mint (from our garden)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
honey (to finish)

Make the Dutch Baby Pancake according to the recipe below. While it's cooking, prepare the nectarine filling on the stovetop. Into a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and nectarines. Cook for 3 minutes until the nectarines are lightly caramelized. Reduce heat to low, and then add the vanilla, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook for a 3 minutes until syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to assemble. 

Assemble the dish by distributing the cooked nectarines and their juice over the middle of the Dutch Baby Pancake.   Crumble the goat cheese over the nectarines and sprinkle the top with the chopped almonds. Finish with a few mint leaves, a dusting of cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey. (Makes 4 servings.) 

Dutch Baby Pancake

2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour 
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Into the cup of your blender or in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, flour, milk, sugar, salt, and nutmeg until well incorporated. (Don't worry too much about overworking the batter. It'll be okay.) 

Place a 10-12 inch frying pan into the oven with the butter. Once the butter melts, remove the pan from the oven using an oven mitt, pour the batter into the pan, and return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. You'll be amazed to watch the thin batter start to climb the sides of the pan to form a bowl-like shape. Remove from the oven and fill with the nectarine filling. (Makes 4 servings.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Naan Pizza with Tikka Masala

We received some interesting feedback the other day about our recipes, so y'all, keep the suggestions coming! The heartfelt words of a person who wished to remain anonymous persuaded us to feature some recipes with ingredients that can be easily sourced at places like Aldi, recipes that don't rely too heavily on specialized equipment that not everyone has. 

So, Anonymous, know that we hear you! :) Now we dare you to make this dish because we think you'll absolutely LOVE it. 

The very serious words 'mission statement' are especially hilarious when applied to a vegetarian food blog, but hey, here goes. We love to cook, and we want to change the way vegetarian dishes are perceived.  Our main goals are to renew longtime vegetarians' interest in home cooking and to make people who scoff at vegetarian food fall in love with it. We'll do just about anything to show how nutritious food can actually be good and 
craveable, too. We're all about creativity and learning new things, and we want more people to look forward to participating in Meatless Mondays and skipping meat at least some of the time. This might just make all of us better as a whole in terms of health, and it could help our environment a great deal now and in the future. 

Cooking at home means everything to us. We invest in tools that will help us hone our technique and share tips with y'all, and we seek out the best ingredients because that's a surefire way to make food taste unbelievably great. We still love the crunchy old veg favorites that we grew up enjoying, but now we want to be a part of how vegetarian food evolves and gets the spotlight it deserves. 

Anyway, so this post is not sponsored by Aldi, but upon our reader's advice, we stopped by the Summer Avenue location in Memphis last Saturday with the intention of seeing what ingredients were available and then creating a couple of new TCV recipes based on what we found. 
(Some fresh finds from Aldi)

We love what we were able to put together! The tikka masala that's used as the sauce for this pizza is from a jar, it's a product that's new at Aldi, and it's really good. We also found gluten-free items, lots of fresh produce, honey goat cheese, hemp seeds, marcona almonds, and all sorts of other awesome stuff at good prices there. 

Our box of ingredients (for 2 recipes for an entrĂ©e and a dessert that'll serve 4 to 6 people) rang up for around $30. We'll certainly be going back to Aldi to shop, and we welcome more advice about other places you'd like to see us try. 

Oh, and now we can't wait to show you the pretty spring dessert we've been working on developing with products from the same shopping trip…a bunch of nectarines are almost ripe and ready to hit the grill. 

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Naan Pizza with Tikka Masala

Oven-Roasted Vegetables (recipe follows)
4 naan flatbreads1 16 ounce jar tikka masala "simmer sauce" (like Journey to India brand)
8 to 10 ounce block of white cheddar cheese (shredded)

5 green onions (chopped, about 1 cup)
1 small bunch cilantro (large stems discarded)

Make the 
Oven-Roasted Vegetables according to the recipe below. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place naan flatbreads directly on the oven rack for 5 minutes in order to crisp them up. 

On two large parchment-lined baking sheets, arrange the warm naan flatbreads and get ready to dress them. Onto each flatbread, add about 1/4 cup of tikka masala and spread it almost to the edges. Arrange a variety of Oven-Roasted Vegetables in a single layer on top of the sauce. Top that with about 2 ounces of shredded white cheddar. Repeat for each flat bread. Place the baking sheet with the prepared flatbreads into the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted to your liking. Upon removing the flatbreads from the oven, sprinkle the top of each with green onions and 5 to 7 springs of cilantro. Cut each flatbread into quarters. Serve hot. (Makes 4 to 6 servings.) 

Oven-Roasted Vegetables 

8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
1 medium eggplant (about 4 cups, sliced and quartered)
1 pound multicolored mini bell peppers (about 4 cups sliced)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, salt, and olive oil until salt and oil are evenly distributed. On a large parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the vegetables out into a single layer. Some overlap is fine. Place baking sheet into the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet, stir the vegetables around and distribute them into a single layer. Place the baking sheet back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool until ready to use. Store any leftover vegetables in an airtight container in the fridge for one week or freeze. 
(Makes 4 to 6 servings.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bibimbap Served Paella-Style

We've been loving the vegetarian bibimbap bowls at DWJ 2, a new Korean restaurant with lots of vegetarian options. It's located in the Cooper-Young neighborhood of Memphis. The bibimbap comes to the table in a scorchingly hot stone bowl which renders the rice on the bottom of the dish crunchy and delicious. 

All we can even think about lately is this dish! Since we can't go out to DWJ 2 every single night like we really want to, we figured out how to get similar results at home without the use of a stone bowl. We thought about the many pans of paella we've shared with friends over the years and how the rice gets all crunchy on the bottom of the pan; this is called the socarrat.  This past Friday night when we had some time to develop this recipe, we decided to use our cast-iron pan to get the same result. Amazingly, it worked! 

We have to thank our friends Max and Marlinee for introducing us to DWJ 2. It's awesome! We recently took some of the family there for a late-night dinner, and they loved it, too! (One other tip for ordering: Get all of the vegetarian 50-cent sides. Twice.)

Bibimbap Served Paella-Style

1 1/2 cups sushi rice (rinsed until the water is clear)
1 1/2 cups water
8 ounces crimini or shiitake mushroom (sliced)
3 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (divided)

1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 large eggs

1 large carrot shredded
1 sheet nori (cut into thin strips using scissors)

2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/4 cup gochujang or Korean BBQ sauce (We like Bushwick Kitchen's Weak Knees.)
1 cup kimchi (We like Sunja's if we're out of our homemade TCV Kimchi)

Add the rice and the water to your rice cooker and start the timer. Alternately, follow the package directions to yield 3 cups cooked sushi rice if you don't have a rice cooker available in your kitchen. 

While the rice is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. In a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, add one tablespoon of the sesame oil and the sliced mushrooms. Allow them to cook undisturbed for three minutes before stirring them. Allow them to cook for another two minutes, add the soy sauce, and then remove it all from the pan. Set mushrooms aside until you're ready to assemble the dish. 

Reduce the heat to medium. Into the same cast-iron pan, add an additional tablespoon of sesame oil and fry the eggs in the hot oil until they're crispy on the bottom and the whites are set. Remove the eggs from the pan and set them aside until you're ready to assemble the dish. 

Scrape out any reside left behind by the eggs in the cast-iron skillet. Add the last teaspoon of sesame oil and press the cooked sushi rice into the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat. Add the eggs in a single layer, followed by the cooked mushrooms, shredded carrots, green onion, and a generous swirl of gochujang. Add the nori strips to the center of the dish. Serve the kimchi on the side. Place the dish in the middle of the table and allow everyone to serve themselves. (Makes 2-4 servings.)